Housing Minister promises laws to crack down on non-payment


LAW breakers in the construction sector would be tracked down and prosecuted under tough new laws Housing Minister Mick de Brenni has promised.

And he's defined criminal activity to include those who refuse to pay for work done on their behalf.

The Minister said it did not matter whether it be a company collapse or withheld payment, when subbies get done over it hits where it hurts.

Mr de Brenni was responding to News Corp's Back Our Subbies campaign which has exposed the impact on Queensland small businesses of a toxic culture in the construction sector.

"I've met first-hand with hundreds of builders and subcontractors whose lives have been torn apart by a broken system," he said.

"It's heart-breaking to see grown men and women in tears telling me the devastating impacts on their businesses, their marriages, their families.

"Some have lost everything to what some think is a petty white-collar offence. The truth is though when you get a benefit dishonestly, when you don't pay when you know you should, then that's called fraud, and fraud is a criminal act."

Mr de Brenni said the Palaszczuk government's building industry fairness reforms represented the most rigorous crime prevention strategy in the nation.

And where we couldn't rely on people not committing a crime and engaging in misleading reporting, we gave the QBCC the powers to investigate and drill down and uncover the truth, he said.

"However the framework is only just being pieced together and its not retrospective. New powers in 2018, new rules in 2019, with more to come.

"So the message is now to every licensee - if you do the wrong thing we have the powers to catch you.

"We can't watch every transaction or be on every site, but we will track you down and you will be held to account."